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and its accurate resemblance can hardly be disputed, though those who only look at his cruelty towards the Presbyterians will consider his courage, talents, high spirit, and loyal devotion to an unfortunate master, as ill associated with such evil attributes. They who study his life will have some reason to think that a mistaken opinion of the absolute obedience due by an officer to his superiors, joined to unscrupulous ambition, was the ruling principle of many of his worst actions. Yet he was not uniformly so ruthless as he is painted in the Tales. In some cases be interceded for the life of those whom he was ordered to put to death; and particularly, he pleaded hard with Sir James Johnstone, of Westerhall, for the life of one Hyslop, shot on Eskdale moor. It appears also, from his correspondence with Lord Lithgow, that he was attentive to his prisoners, as he apologizes for not bringing one of them, who laboured under a disease rendering it painful for him to be on horseback. From the following anecdote it would seem that his activity against the Whigs did not always correspond with the wishes of those in
The Thesr. Queensberry having taken some disgust at Claverhouse, for not being so active against the Whigs as he ought, (they having killed two men, and made one Mr. Shaw, a minister, swear never to preach under bishops,) orders his brother, Colonel Douglas, to take two hundred men of his regiment and attack the rebels. But having one day with a party of his men met with as many of the rebels in a house, they killed two of his men and Captain Urquhart Meldrum's brother, and was near being shot himself, had not a Whig's carabine misgiven, (the more pity, considering what a vile traitor the Colonel after proved to King James VII.), that Douglas therefore shot the said Whig, January, 1685.-Fountainhall's MS. Diary.
Something is also to be given to the exaggeration of political and polemical hatred. For example, John Brown of Muirkirk is, in Wodrow's history, said to have been shot by Claverhouse with his own hand. But in the Life of Peden, which gives a minute and interesting account of this execution, the particulars whereof the author had from the unfortunate widow, we are expressly told that Brown was shot by a file of soldiers, Claverhouse looking on and commanding. Enough will, however, remain, after every possible deduction, to stigmatize Claverhouse during this earlier part of his military career, as a fierce and savage officer; the ready executioner of the worst commands of his superiors, forgetting that no officer is morally justifiable in the execution of cruelty and oppression, however the commands of his superiors may be his warrant in an earthly court of justice: for the alternative of surrendering his commission being at all times in his power, he who voluntarily continues in a service where such things are exacted at his
hand, cannot be judged otherwise than as one who prefers professional advancement and private interest to good faith, justice, and honour. But there are circumstances in Grahame's subsequent conduct which have gilded over cruelties that, we shall presently shew, belonged as much to the age as to the man, and they have been glossed over, if not extenuated, by the closing scenes of his life.
During the general desertion of James II. Claverhouse, then Viscount of Dundee, remained inalienably firm to his benefactor. In his personal expenses he had been a rigid economist, but he was profuse of his fortune when it could aid the cause of his misguided prince. When James had disbanded his army, and was about to take the last and desperate step of leaving Britain, Claverhouse withstood it. He maintained, that the army, though disembodied, was not so dispersed but that they could be again assembled; and he offered to collect them under the king's standard, and to give battle to the Dutch.* Disappointed in this enterprize by the pusillanimity of the king, he did not desert his sinking cause. He fought his cause in the convention of estates in Scotland; and finally retreating to the Highlands, raised the clans in his defence. No name is yet so loved and venerated among the Highlanders as that of Dundee, and the influence which he had been able to acquire over the minds of this keen-spirited and aboriginal race is of itself sufficient to prove his talents. Sir John Dalrymple has idly represented him as studying their ancient poetry, and heating his enthusiasm with their ancient traditions. The truth is, that Dundee did not even understand their language, and never learned above a few words of it. His ascendancy over them was acquired by his superior talents and the art which he possessed of managing minds inferior to his own. He fell in the moment of a most decided victory, gained over troops superior to his own in number, in equipment, in military skill, in every thing but the valour and activity of the soldiers and the military talents of the general. Few men have left to posterity a character so strikingly varied. It is not shaded --it is not even chequered-it is on the one side purely heroic, on the other, cruel, savage and sanguinary. The old story of the gold and silver shield is but a type of the character of Claverhouse; and partizans on either side may assail or defend his character with as good faith as the knights in the fable. The minstrels have not been silent on the occasion, and the censure of the amiable Grahame may be well contrasted with the classical epitaph of Pitcairn.
Claverhouse is the only cavalier of importance upon whom our author has dwelt, though he has touched slightly on Sir John Dalzell
* See Mac Pherson's State Papers.
and the Duke of Lauderdale. Among the Covenanters, the character of Balfour is most prominent. This man (for he actually existed) was a gentleman by birth, and brother-in-law to Hackstorne of Rathillet, an enthusiast of another and more unmixed mould. In point of religious observances he did not act up to the strictness of his sect, but he atoned for such negligence by his military enterprize and unsparing cruelty. This we learn from Howie, whose work we have already quoted; and at the same time we become acquainted with what the honest man considered as the criterion of a soldier of the Covenant..
He joined with the more faithful part of our late sufferers, and although he was by some reckoned none of the most religious, yet he was always zealous and honest-hearted, courageous in every enterprize, and a brave soldier, seldom any escaping that came in his hands.'-Scottish Worthies, p. 563.
From another passage we gain something of his personal appearance, which seems to have been as unattractive as his proceedings were ruthless.
'At that meeting at Loudon Hill, dispersed May 5th, 1681, it is said that he disarmed one of Duke Hamilton's men with his own hand, taking a pair of fine pistols belonging to the duke from his saddle, telling him to tell his master, he would keep them till meeting. Afterwards, when the Duke asked his man, What he was like? he told him he was a little man, squint eyed, and of a very fierce aspect; the Duke said, he knew who it was, and withal prayed that he might never see his face, for if he should, he was sure he would not live long.'—Ibidem.
Burley appears to have been wounded in the battle of Bothwell Bridge, for he was heard to execrate the hand which had fired the shot. He fled to Holland, where his company was shunned by such of the Scottish fugitives as had their religious zeal qualified by moral considerations, and he was refused the communion by the Scottish congregation. He is said to have accompanied Argyle in his unfortunate attempt, along with one Fleming, also an assassin of the Archbishop. And finally, he joined the expedition of the - Prince of Orange, but died before the disembarkation; an event to which Mr. Howie fondly ascribes the limitation of the revenge which would otherwise have been taken on the persecutors of the Lord's people and cause in Scotland.
It is said he (Balfour) obtained liberty from the prince for that purpose, but died at sea before their arrival in Scotland. Whereby that design was never accomplished, and so the land was never purged by the blood of them who had shed innocent blood, according to the law of the Lord, Gen. ix. 6. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed."-Scottish Worthies, ibidem.
It will hardly be alleged that our author has greatly misrepresented
this singular character. On the contrary, he appears to have imputed to Burley, as the prime motive of his actions, a deep though regulated spirit of enthusiasm, which, from Howie's account, he seems not to have in reality possessed, and so far has rendered him more interesting and terrible, than if he had been painted as the thorough-going, bloody-minded ruffian, with little religion and less mercy, in which character he figures among the Scottish Worthies.
Admitting, however, that these portraits are sketched with spirit and effect, two questions arise of much more importance than any thing affecting the merits of the novels--namely, whether it is safe or prudent to imitate, in a fictitious narrative, and often with a view to a ludicrous effect, the scriptural style of the zealots of the seventeenth century; and secondly, whether the recusant presbyterians, collectively considered, do not carry too reverential and sacred a character to be treated by an unknown author with such insolent familiarity.
On the first subject, we frankly own we have great hesitation. It is scarcely possible to ascribe scriptural expressions to hypocritical or extravagant characters without some risk of mischief, because it will be apt to create an habitual association between the expression and the ludicrous manner in which it is used, unfavourable to the reverence due to the sacred text. And it is no defence to state that this is an error inherent in the plan of the novel. Bourdaloue, a great authority, extends this restriction still farther, and denounces all attempts to unmask hypocrisy by raillery, because in doing so the satirist is necessarily compelled to expose to ridicule the religious vizard of which he has divested him. Yet even against such authority it may be stated, that ridicule is the friend both of religion and virtue, when directed against those who assume their garb, whether from hypocrisy or fanaticism. The satire of Butler, not always decorous in these particulars, was yet eminently useful in stripping off their borrowed gravity and exposing to public ridicule the affected fanaticism of the times in which he lived. It may also be remembered, that in the days of Queen Anne a number of the Camisars or Huguenots of Dauphiné arrived as refugees in England, and became distinguished by the name of the French prophets. The fate of these enthusiasts in their own country had been somewhat similar to that of the Covenanters. Like them, they used to assemble in the mountains and desolate places, to the amount of many hundreds, in arms, and like them they were hunted and persecuted by the military. Like them, they were enthusiasts, though their enthusiasm assumed a character more decidedly absurd. The fugitive Camisars who came to London had convulsion-fits, prophesied, made converts, and attracted the public attention by an
offer to raise the dead. The English minister, instead of fine and imprisonment and other inflictions which might have placed them in the rank and estimation of martyrs, and confirmed in their faith their numerous disciples, encouraged a dramatic author to bring out a farce on the subject which, though neither very witty nor very delicate, had the good effect of laughing the French prophets out of their audience and putting a stop to an inundation of nonsense which could not have failed to disgrace the age in which it appeared. The Camisars subsided into their ordinary vocation of psalmodic whiners, and no more was heard of their sect or their miracles. It would be well if all folly of the kind could be so easily quelled for enthusiastic nonsense, whether of this day or of those which have passed away, has no more title to shelter itself under the veil of religion than a common pirate to be protected by the reverence due to an honoured and friendly flag.
Still, however, we must allow that there is great delicacy and hesitation to be used in employing the weapon of ridicule on any point connected with religion. Some passages occur in the work before us for which the writer's sole apology must be the uncontroulable disposition to indulge the peculiarity of his vein of humour-a temptation which even the saturnine John Knox was unable to resist either in narrating the martyrdom of his friend Wisheart or the assassination of his enemy Beatson, and in the impossibility of resisting which his learned and accurate biographer has rested his apology for this mixture of jest and earnest.
'There are writers,' he says, (rebutting the charge of Hume against Knox,) who can treat the most sacred subjects with a levity bordering on profanity. Must we at once pronounce them profane, and is nothing to be set down to the score of natural temper inclining them to wit and humour? The pleasantry which Knox has mingled with his harrative of his (Cardinal Beatson's) death and burial is unseasonable and unbecoming. But it is to be imputed not to any pleasure which he took in describing a bloody scene, but to the strong propensity which he had to indulge his vein of humour. Those who have read his history with attention must have perceived that he is not able to check this even on very serious occasions.'-Macrie's Life of Knox, p. 147.
Indeed Dr. Macrie himself has given us a striking instance of the indulgence which the Presbyterian clergy, even of the strictest persuasion, permit to the vis comica. After describing a polemical work as ingeniously constructed and occasionally enlivened with strokes of humour,' he transfers, to embellish his own pages, (for we can discover no purpose of edification which the tale serves,) a ludicrous parody made by an ignorant parish-priest on certain words of a Psalm, too sacred to be here quoted. Our own innocent pleasantry caunot, in this instance, be quite reconciled with that of the